The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Happy New Year!

I hope all my readers have had a good year in 2019, and I hope 2020 treats you well. 2019 was a hard year for me personally, but the last few months show significant improvement, and I’m optimistic, on a personal level, about next year.

Carpe Diem



William Greider – In memoriam – (1936 – 2019)


As We Sow: Australian Wildfire Edition


  1. Hugh

    Best Wishes and Blessings to Everyone in the New Year! We will need them.

  2. Oy vey, the new year is eight days old. Enough with the frivolities, back to work …

    Those of us that came out of the woods and the sawmills know this to be true …

    (Atrios) The idea that 55-year-olds who have spent their lives in a very localized highly specialized profession should just take a few classes and then go move somewhere else for a new lucrative career is just… nuts. It’s been nuts for decades. It was nuts when “job retraining” was supposed to make the NAFTA medicine go down. It’s especially nuts when “tech” is a field known for elitism and age discrimination.

    There aren’t many coal miners so the focus on them is a weird fetish, but to the extent that “coal miners” is a metaphor, it’s one for people who had hard jobs that went away and no amount of job retraining can reset their lives.

    (Paul Campos) The belief that there’s a lot of structural unemployment in the American economy, so people can get good jobs if they retrain themselves to work in areas where there are lots of such jobs going unfilled because of a shortage of qualified workers is one of those zombie ideas that survives because it’s such a convenient belief for people who think the economic system is basically fine, and you just need to tweak it a little here and there.

    The Y2K nuts got it right, they just didn’t quite get their grubby little fingers wrapped around it. Fascism, climate change, income inequality, the New Gilded Age, Twitter, reality television … Donald Trump. Status-quo Joe. Isn’t the first time I’ve pointed this out. How much more will it take?

    We have to stop doing what we’re doing. It isn’t working.


    Happy Newy everyone. May this year be your best ever.

    For those of you interested in outdoor gear, here’s a new line that will prove to be a huge success. Check it out.

  4. nihil obstet

    Best Wishes to everyone. I don’t think Ian generally overuses his optimism, so I hope he has brought it out to be effective next year. Improvements to him and to us all.

  5. anon

    Happy New Year. It will be a very good year indeed if Bernie Sanders wins the presidency. I’ll be happy but less so if Elizabeth Warren wins. As long as it isn’t Trump, Biden, or Buttigieg being sworn in on January 20, 2021.

  6. KT Chong

    Be as happy as you can… because most of you will be crying by the end of the year.

    Donald Trump will win the 2020 re-election.

    If you recall: back in 2016, all the election polls and pundits predicted that Hillary had “90-plus percentage” chance of defeating Trump in a landslide. All of them EXCEPT TWO:

    Professor Helmut Norpoth and Professor Alan Lichtman.

    Norpoth used his “Primary Model”. Lichtman used his 13-point predictive method. Here is the peculiarity shared by both Norpoth’s model and Lichtman’s 13 method: The main focus of the model and method was not even based on the candidates themselves. The models mostly looked at the performances of the SITTING PRESIDENT, who was Obama at the time. So, in essence, they looked at the 2016 election as a referendum on Obama’s second term.

    It was NOT Hillary who lost the 2016 election. It was OBAMA who lost the 2016 election — because outside the Black communities and the neoliberal circles, Obama’s policies had harmed and were disliked by the average Americans. The Primary Model even predicted that: even if Bernie had defeated Hillary in the 2016 primary, Bernie would have also lost to Trump — by an even bigger margin. Hillary or Bernie had very little to do with the outcome. The 2016 election outcome had already been pre-determined by the second-term performance of then-sitting president, Obama.

    Which brings us to the 2020 election.

    On December 5 in the New York Emma Clark Memorial Library, Norpoth offered his very first tentative forecast for the 2020 result based on his Primary Model. A month before that, Lichtman also went on the MSNBC to make an early 2020 prediction based on his 13-points. BOTH professors predicted Trump will win the 2020 election, regardless who will be the Democratic candidate. It is simply because Trump’s PERFORMANCES — outside his insensitive/offensive/sexist/racist comments and his un-presidential behaviors — especially his performances on economy, have actually been objectively good. AND, he has kept most of his campaign promises (even though I disagree with almost all of his policies/promises; I have to admit: he has kept most of his promises to his supporters.)

    Mind you: Lichtman is a Democrat who hated Trump, and Norpoth seems to be a progressive. But that was their early prediction for 2020. I encourage you to google those professors and their forecast methods/models. So, unless the economy crashes before the 2020 election, Trump will have his second term.

  7. Hugh

    In disordered times, the conspiratorial mindset flourishes. Commonsense rules of thumbs like Occam’s razor and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line get thrown out the door.

    So that Hillary Clinton was an arrogant, godawful, hyper entitled candidate with the biggest tin ear in US politics whose campaign shoveled double doses of a more of the same that everyone hated outside her Establishment echo chamber, and even with all that shit still managed 3 million more votes than Trump, nope, she didn’t lose because and despite all that. She lost because Obama.

    And if that maundering, doddering fossil Joe Biden had run in 2016 instead, he probably would have won the 5 swing states and gotten more of the African-American vote too. So how would a 2016 Biden win because of Obama have squared with the Hillary lost because of Obama narrative? It wouldn’t. Hillary lost because of Hillary. She didn’t even bother to conceal her contempt for working class whites. She offered African-Americans squat and lacked the connection to Obama that Biden at least had. She ignored the swing states. To say her campaign was horrible would be overly kind, it was impossibly bad. And yet without a decrepit, anti-democratic relic of a degenerate political system like the electoral college, she still would have won.

    The Occam’s razor version of reality is different. Trump or Hillary, the lower 80% of the population was screwed either way, and depending how you want to measure these things this has been the case for the last 40-50 years going back to either Carter or Nixon, and if you really want to push it, FDR’s second term.

  8. anon y'mouse

    happy new year!

    hope everything continues on the up-slope for you, Ian.

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